Variety show celebrities and Vietnamese diasporic advertisements


I spotted this shampoo advertisement in a Vietnamese/pan-Asian supermarket in South El Monte, California. The man whose face has been ripped off is most certainly Vietnamese Canadian celebrity Nguyễn Ngọc Ngạn.

Ngạn co-hosts the popular Vietnamese diaspora variety show Paris By Night with Nguyễn Cao Kỳ Duyên. Kỳ Duyên, who lives in the United States, is herself a spokesperson for many products aimed at Vietnamese women overseas. Here they are together in an advertisement for a nail salon chair:

(Vietnamese immigrants dominate the nail salon industry in the US and other Western countries where Vietnamese have settled. 80% of nail technicians in California are Vietnamese!)


In her book, The American Dream in Vietnamese, Nhi T. Lieu argues that Paris By Night and related “media technologies enable new ways of literally envisioning Vietnamese culture in exile, carving out spaces for the articulation and formation of postrefugee gender, ethnic, and cultural identities” (Kindle location 1259). The book is worth checking out if you’re interested in diasporic cultural production.

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